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Much More Than Meets The Eye

A Welsh dragon made from discarded lottery scratchcards is just one of the unique artworks going on show in a new exhibition at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.


The dragon was made by 18 year old James Owen Thomas, who is bringing his imaginative collage artworks to Wales for the first time ever. From 16 November to 5 January 2020, James, who lives in Yorkshire but whose mother is from Cardiff, will have his work on show in a free exhibition, Much More Than Meets The Eye.

Having this year won an autism award from the National Autistic Society, the National Waterfront Museum is delighted to be showcasing James's scratchcard artwork, as James himself was diagnosed with autism, aged three.

Due to his autism, James preferred to communicate through imagery and developed his artwork into a way to express himself. All of James's art is created from recycled scratch cards, which would otherwise be thrown away, and serves to highlight environmental issues as well as to express himself using materials deemed worthless to others. “I have always been fascinated by colour and pattern and scratch cards seemed to develop my enjoyment of collage,” James said.

Prior to mounting his exhibition, James took part in a workshop at the Museum where he showed others how to create art using his painstaking techniques.

James has also won an award himself - last month, he was presented the Young Champion's Award from the Royal Horticultural Society for a work he made for Britain in Bloom.

James' family has a history in coal mining which has been the inspiration for many of his artworks. He has also visited Big Pit National Coal Museum where James was able to explore the history of coal mining in South Wales, and the exhibition also includes his scratchcard picture of a pit pony.

You can see James’s exhibition Much More Than Meets The Eye and buy cards based on his artwork at the National Waterfront Museum from 16 November. Admission is free.